We’re spending a lot of quality time at home these days€”which means we’ve never appreciated that cozy corner of the living room more, and the design deficiencies of our spaces are also crystal clear.

As a design magazine, we’ve long touted the importance of a thoughtfully designed space and the joy of a beautiful home. There’s even science out there to back it up: a pleasant home environment statistically improves mood, health and well-being.

“I think that design has a great deal of power over our mental health,” says interior designer Francesca Albertazzi of Rudy Winston Design. “Your home should be a place that makes you feel safe, happy and inspired at all times, not just during a global health crisis.” 

We’ve never needed a mood booster more than now. So if you’ve been putting off that home improvement project, consider this your invitation to get to it, for the sake of your mental health. Not sure where to start to upgrade your space? Take a cue from these interior design experts to nest with purpose.

Take some time to declutter. “Your surroundings have a huge impact on your mental health and productivity,” says Emma Kelly, Albertazzi’s partner at Rudy Winston Design. “For me, I know my stress and anxiety increase often in correlation with clutter around me and I'm at my most calm and content in an organized space.” Step one is to declutter; step two is to create a storage space for all of the things you’ve kept. (Kelly recommends custom closets and storage so there’s a specific place for everything to live.)

Consider your colours. One of the most impactful features of a space on your mood is colour. The psychological effect is real: reds fire us up; blues calm us down. Is your room the right palette for fostering calm? Consider lighter colours, that are brighter, and can set a positive mood and motivation for your day,” suggest Aleem Kassam and Phyllis Lui of Kalu Interiors via email. “A fun feature wallpaper or changing the colour of the space can work wonders for how it makes you feel.”

Curate the perfect home gallery. Artwork and imagery at home should be inspiring, not just a space filler on the wall, and now’s the perfect time to evaluate the photos and paintings in your space and decide if they’re setting the right mood for your environment. “If your view is not calming think about having an image or artwork that speaks to you,” suggests Vancouver interior designer Anna Dhillon.

Surround yourself with pieces that spark joy. Forget about “design rules” and just follow the fun. If something makes you happy, it belongs in your home. “Use colours you love, or find a special cup to put your pens in, a pillow for the back of your chair,”says Jamie Hamilton of Oliver Simon Design. “Just create what you love and what you know you will want to retreat to.”